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About the course

This highly demanding, practical based course will provide you with exemplary skills in audio engineering, studio production and live sound production. You will work with skilled music industry professionals in 'The Shrubbery' recording studio, which is a modern professional recording studio located in Bury St Edmunds. You will be taught recording, mixing and mastering, and studio management skills. As well as producing original tracks for students on the music courses, a proportion of the work is producing/engineering for clients of the studio, including local bands, solo artists and songwriters.

In addition to recording, a large focus of the course is on live sound production, with a unique number of live concerts designed and produced throughout the year, both on campus and at venues around the local area including The Apex, Hunter Club and John Peele Centre. You will learn lighting design and operation, visual projection design and operation, events management and stage crewing, alongside PA operation and mixing.

Entry requirements

Five GCSEs Grade 4 or above, including maths or English at Grade 3 or 4

We will invite you in for an interview, which will also require you completing a short written task (details will be sent out once you apply). If you are successful during the interview stage and you are offered a place, we will  invite you in for a practical studio or live workshop later in the year.

We expect a minimum of 95% attendance and full engagement in every lesson and will regularly be reviewing your progress to ensure this is the right course for you.

Any student aged 16 to 19 who does not hold a GCSE 9 to 4 in maths and English will need to continue to study these subjects alongside the main course.


You will complete this course with a UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music Performance and Production (equivalent to 3 A Levels at A* for a distinction overall) Year one is graded as a Level 3 Diploma and year two as an Extended Diploma. Your final grade for year one will be pass, merit or distinction. For year two this will be pass, high pass, merit, high merit or distinction.

What you'll learn (core modules)

You will attend College for a minimum of three days a week but will be expected to work for an additional fifteen hours per week at home completing assignments, revising, researching, practising and preparing for lessons. During show weeks, you will be expected to attend every day.

The following provides a guide outline for the course content:




Sept – Dec


Jan – Mar

Apr - May

Music Business for the Modern World


Music Business for the Modern World

Extended Project

· Do you dare to dream

· Structure of the music industry

· The changes and challenges of the modern industry

· Record labels

· Royalties

· Music synchronisation

· Music Publishing


· Writing a bio

· Writing a press release

· Using social media

· Marketing yourself and your product

· Developing a website

· Professionalism and work ethic



Studio Production


Studio Production

Extended Project

· Overview of the studio

· Routing within the studio

· Managing a recording session

· Artist diplomacy

· Micing techniques

· Production projects with recording artists


· Production projects with recording artists



Drum Programming



Extended Project

· Drum programming techniques in Logic

· Creating/editing/using drum sounds

· Using percussive loops

· Listening skills/analysing beats

· Different electronic genre programming tips

· Bass and basslines


· Intro to synths and synthesis

· The science of synthesis

· Creating drum sounds/bass/lead sounds

· Soft synths

· Using hardware synths



Live Sound Production


Live Sound Production

Extended Project

· Health and safety (manual handling, electrical, hearing)

· Overview of the PA, function of the equipment

· Setting up Front of House

· Setting up the stage

· Setting up the monitor system

· Feedback control and tuning a PA

· Equipment operation

· Mixing techniques

· Stage design and building

· Stage management and crewing


· Pyrotechnics

· Mock gig rehearsals

· Using a digital mixing desk

· Events management

· Lighting workshop



The Science of Sound


The Science of Sound

Extended Project

· The science of sound

· Introduction to the recording method

· Introduction to Pro Tools

· Setting up a new project, file management

· Microphone technology

· Speaker technology

· Mixing desks

· Digital Audio Theory

· FX: EQ, compression, and reverb

· How to mic up guitars and drums and vocals

· Editing audio

· Basic mixing

· Acoustics


· FX: delay, and modulation (chorus, phaser, flanger, tremolo)

· Track automation

· Basic mastering

· Studio Design

· Managing artists, getting best performance

· Basic Synthes



Music and Society


Music and Society

Extended Project

· Origin of music

· Origin and development of music notation

· Contribution of slave music to western music

· Origin and development of radio technology

· Origin and development of recording technology

· Origin of electronic music and synthesisers

· Origin of the Blues

· Origin of Jazz


· Origin and development of the electric guitar and bass

· Origin and development of the drum set

· Big Band and Swing music

· Further development of recording technology

· Origin and development of country and western music

· Origin of early Rock and Roll - Rockabilly



Listening Skills


Listening Skills

Extended Project

· Listening vs hearing

· How the ear works

· Identifying and analysing musical components in live and recorded music (structure, rhythm, harmony, tempo, texture, melody, tonality)

· Identifying and fixing faults.


· Identifying and analysing audio components in live and recorded music (EQ, compression, mix, blend, clarity, mastering, balance, effects, edits, audio spectrum, stereo field, )

· Individual mix analysis

· Identifying and fixing faults.



Music Theory


Music Theory

Extended Project

· Pitch, rhythm and clefs.

· Time signatures

· Intervals

· Constructing chords

· Cadences

· Inversions

· Key signatures



Year Two





Sept – Dec


Jan – Feb

Mar - May

Lighting Design / Advanced Live Sound


Backline Technical Management

Major Extended Project

· Light and colour science

· Lighting contribution towards entertainment

· Types, characteristics and uses of lighting

· Rigging and focussing

· Working at height

· Programming a lighting desk

· Lighting design

· Lighting operating


· Backline technology (guitar and amp setup and maintenance)

· Mastering audio mixes

· Line array speaker technology

· Multi-phase power & power for festivals



Visual Design


Video Editing

Major Extended Project

· Photoshop

· Poster Design

· After Effects

· Keyframing

· Green screening

· Creating visuals for a gig


· Premier Pro

· Transitions

· Colour grading

· Promo videos



Advanced Production


Events Management

Major Extended Project

· Pro Tools revision

· Setting up a project and making a master template

· Routing within Pro Tools

· Advanced editing

· Time compression and Expansion

· Comping

· Automation

· Advanced FX


· Build it and they will come philosophy

· Aims and objectives

· Legal and licensing

· Logistical planning

· Financial consideration

· Risk assessments / H&S / Legislation

· Timescales

· Contracts

· Marketing and promotion


Careers Development


Final Project Preparation

Major Extended Project

· Freelancing skills

· Cost of living

· UCAS – how, what, why.

· CVs and personal statements

· Accounting and budgeting

· Tax, National Insurance, Pension, Insurance

· Legal and licensing

· Body language and networking

· The marketing mix






Sound Design 101

Major Extended Project

· Introduction of foley and sound effects

· Recording and performing live foley

· Sound editing/processing

· Creating genre sound effects (horror/sci-fi/fantasy/combat/comedy)

· Putting foley/SFX to picture


· Introduction to found sound

· Creating/recording sounds from everyday objects

· Unusual microphone techniques

· Introduction and use of contact mics

· Circuitbending and strange electronics



Studio Production


Project Work

Major Extended Project

· Revision on the studio

· Production projects with recording artists




Industry insight into UAL Music Performance and Production



Tutors' insights into UAL Music Performance and Production


Students' insights into UAL Music Performance and Production


Benefits, skills and character strengths

We have a record label called 'Digital Saint Records' and commercially release compilations throughout the year on platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, Deezer and Amazon Music to name but a few. All students are given the opportunity to submit a track for consideration, and our in house A&R team review and select tracks. If you don't make the album, you will be given support to help you prepare for forthcoming releases. 

There are numerous opportunities to compose music for projects, perform in the local community and to attend a variety of music events throughout the year.


How will I be assessed?

Throughout the course you will generate a portfolio of evidence to show how you are developing as a professional studio engineer/production and live sound/lighting engineer. We use Google Classroom which allows us to provide you with ongoing formative feedback and discussion.  You will be producing practical work including studio recordings, stage lighting, and live events in addition to presentations, mood boards, evaluations and research documentation.

We make our assignments industry focussed and relevant - we don't ask you to do anything which doesn't develop the necessary skills to be successful within the industry.

Your grade for year one and year two is based upon a large project of your choosing. You work on this at the end of each year, and so long as it fits within the boundaries of the qualification, this could anything from writing an EP or an album, remixing existing artists, composing for film, to going on tour, to marketing and promoting yourself as an artist - the list is as big as your imagination will allow.

Where will the course take me?

Following successful completion of the course, we have a range of course options available such as the Level 4 in Music Performance / Creative Arts Business and Enterprise as well as our BA(Hons) Degree in Creative and Commercial Music and Live Sound. We ensure that everyone has a clear plan for progression on to further study or employment.

Our ex-students tour the world as musicians, sound engineers and event managers. We have other students who work as professional composers for games, film and TV as well as artists in their own right. A career in the industry is not unattainable, there are numerous opportunities out there - the music industry is showing continued growth and is currently valued at £4.5bn.

Will I need any materials or equipment?

A fee of £15 is required, which covers the purchase of a crew T-shirt.

Dark jeans or 'combat' trousers, a small torch and sturdy rubber soled footwear with steel toe caps should be purchased for live production work.

Learners will be required to purchase a USB 3.0 Memory stick/Hard drive and headphones before the course starts.

If learners wish to purchase music production equipment, we will discuss this with them before the course starts.

Abstraction Festival
Abstraction Festival 1
Best of Bond show
Drum riser for Best of Bond show
Finale pyros for Best of Bond show
Lighting design
Live Mixing
Live at the Hunter Club
Live sound for Quadrophonic show
Now Thats What I Call 80s 90s Show 1
Now Thats What I Call 80s 90s show
Penultimate Show
Pyros at Songs from Silver Screen show
Shrubbery Recording Studio
Shrubbery Recording Studio 2
Shrubbery Recording Studio 3
Shrubbery Recording Studio Desk
Shrubbery Recording Studio Tape machine
Shrubbery Recording Studio outboard
Shrubbery Recording Studio patch bay and synths
Shrubbery Studio Live Room
Stage design for Live Lounge Jukebox
Stage setup for Girl Power show
Tech student on sound
The Live sound desk

I'm interested. What should I do now?

If you would like to find out more, please come along to one of our open events published on the college website or call the main college line.

Alternatively, keep an eye on our website or social pages for upcoming shows and events- we would love to see you there:



Check out some live streaming footage from our most recent shows on the following link:


Days & times

Starting September 2020

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